Racial disparities in prostate cancer survival in a screened population: Reality versus artifact

Dhamanpreet Kaur, Ernesto Ulloa-Pérez, Roman Gulati, Ruth Etzioni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Racial disparities in prostate cancer survival (PCS) narrowed during the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) era, suggesting that screening may induce more equitable outcomes. However, the effects of lead time and overdiagnosis can inflate survival even without real screening benefit. METHODS: A simulation model of PCS in the early PSA era (1991-2000) was created. The modeled survival started with baseline survival in the pre-PSA era (1975-1990) and added lead times and overdiagnosis using estimates from published studies. The authors quantified 1) discrepancies between modeled and observed PCS in the PSA era and 2) residual period effects on PCS given specified values for screening benefit. RESULTS: Lead time and overdiagnosis explained more of the improvement in PCS for older ages at diagnosis (46% [95% confidence interval (CI), 44%-50%] for blacks and 51% [95% CI, 50%-52%] for all races ages 50-54 years vs 98% [95% CI, 97%-99%] for blacks and 100% for all races ages 75-79 years). They also explained more of the narrowing in PCS disparities for older ages (33% [95% CI, 31%-43%] for men ages 50-54 years vs 74% [95% CI, 71%-81%] for men ages 75-79 years). The period effects amounted to reductions of 27% to 40% among blacks and 26% to 38% among all races in the risk of prostate cancer death, depending on the screening benefit. CONCLUSIONS: Real improvements in survival disparities in the PSA era are smaller than those observed and reflect similar reductions in the risk of prostate cancer death among blacks and all races. Understanding screening artifacts is necessary for valid interpretation of observed survival trends. Cancer 2018;124:1752-9.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1752-1759
Number of pages8
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 15 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • disparities
  • lead time
  • overdiagnosis
  • prostate-specific antigen
  • prostatic neoplasms
  • race
  • screening
  • survival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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